The Telangana Labour Department has called a meeting tomorrow with officials of Cognizant and representatives of employees, who claim they have been sacked from the US-based IT firm. The Forum for IT Employees (FITE) had filed a petition on “layoffs” by the IT giant, alleging that Cognizant is illegally terminating thousands of employees by forcing them to resign.
“We have received a petition. There will be a meeting tomorrow with company officials and the petitioners. This is routine affair. We keep getting such petitions and whenever there is a problem, we try to sort them out,” Joint Commissioner (Labour) R Chandra Sekharam told PTI.
Last week, Cognizant had rolled out a voluntary separation programme for directors, associate VPs and senior VPs, offering them 6-9 months of salary. FITE alleged that IT companies are replacing the highly-paid experienced employees with those with lesser experience and low-pay recruits, which is leading to “illegal terminations”.
It further pointed out that companies are quoting different reasons like poor employee performance or streamlining as per customer demands for these layoffs. When contacted, a Cognizant spokesperson said performance reviews are done to ensure that the company has the right employee skill sets necessary to meet client needs and achieve business goals.
“This process results in changes, including some employees transitioning out of the company. Any actions as the result of this process are performance-based and generally consistent with those we’ve made in previous years,” he added.
Apart from Cognizant, Wipro and Infosys are also expected to hand out pink slips to hundreds of employees as part of their performance reviews. IT companies have been one of the largest recruiters in the country. However, they have warned that increasing automation of processes would lead to reduction in hiring in coming years.
While the outsourcing model has placed India on the global map, increasing scrutiny and rising protectionist sentiment in countries like the US — which is also the largest market for the $140 billion Indian IT industry — also poses as a major challenge.
Companies are now working towards reducing their dependence on work visas and instead hiring more locals in those markets to ensure continuity of work for clients, even though it impacts their margins and hiring in India.